The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it will soon begin awarding an annual Academy Award for achievement in casting. The award will be presented for the first time at the 98th Academy Awards, which will recognize work done on films released in 2025. The casting Oscar will be the first new Oscar introduced since the organization began presenting the best animated feature film in 2002, rewarding the work carried out in 2001.
The announcement is somewhat surprising, given the pressure the Academy has felt, especially in recent years, to consolidate the number of categories it presents on its ABC broadcast, in order to retain as many viewers as possible. Twenty-three awards are currently given out on air, although the average viewer usually only cares about four or five. (It hasn’t yet been confirmed whether the casting Oscar will be shown on television, but it’s hard to imagine that wouldn’t be the case.)
On the other hand, the Academy has increasingly embraced casting directors in recent years. Practitioners of the profession have belonged to the organization for decades, but were classified as members at large until 2013, when the organization created a casting directors branch. Six years later, a casting director was elected president of the Academy for the first time; David Rubin served in this role from 2019 to 2022. Today, the casting directors branch has 158 active members, making it the smallest of the Academy’s 19 branches.
In a press release published Thursday, the current president of the Academy Janet Yang and CEO Bill Kramer said: “Casting directors play a vital role in filmmaking, and as the Academy evolves, we are proud to add casting to the disciplines we recognize and celebrate….